The multimillion-dollar Texas fund that compensates crime victims is on track to run out of money next year, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Officials who oversee the Crime Victim Compensation Fund said it faces a “serious shortfall” in September 2013 because of declining revenue and will be unable to pay for services to victims. Created in 1979, the account reimburses violent crime victims for expenses not covered by insurance or restitution.
It has been funded mainly through fines and court fees paid by lawbreakers across Texas — and reached its high point in 2005, when crime victims were paid $85 million. The problem: Legislative leaders, facing a severe budget crunch last year, raided the fund to pay for victim services programs provided by agencies and nonprofit organizations that had previously been paid for from the state’s general fund. If the fund pays only victims, and stops paying for grants to victim services groups, it could satisfy all victim claims. That could decimate dozens of victim services programs across the state that have come to rely on the fund — to the tune of more than $36 million last year alone.